NYC Spanish Teacher Claims She Was Fired for Using “Negro” Word in Class

By Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.
May 24, 2013 Updated: July 18, 2015

A Spanish teacher in the Bronx  said she was fired for using the word “Negro” in class.

Petrona Smith, a 65-year-old junior high school teacher at P.S. 211, called a student “Negro” but she said she was using the Spanish word for the color “black,” reported the New York Post. Smith filed a lawsuit after she was ousted from her job.

“They haven’t even accounted for how absurd it is for someone who’s black to be using a racial slur to a student,” Shaun Reid, Smith’s attorney, told the paper. “Talk about context! There’s a lot of things wrong here.”

She was fired from her job in March 2012 after a seventh-grader complained to school authorities. Smith has been without a job since she was let go.

Smith, who is black and originally from the West Indies, was also accused of calling students “failures.”

The lawsuit says that the “failures” comment was also misinterpreted.

Smith contends she was insulted by the students during class, saying they called her a “cockroach” and racial slurs.

A spokesperson with the New York City Law Department told the Post: “We have received the papers and will review them.”

According to Census figures, the Bronx is the only New York City borough with a Hispanic majority. In the 2010 Census, the majority of Bronx’s population was Hispanic, Latino, or of Spanish origin.

Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.